Record fine for waste operator following major environmental crime

13 December 2012

A waste operator has been given a record fine today after being found guilty of carrying out one of Scotland's most significant environmental crimes.

Doonin Plant Limited was fined £200,000, which is the largest cumulative financial penalty ever handed out for an environmental offence reported to the Procurator Fiscal by SEPA. Sentencing of director Gary Doonin was deferred for one year with the Sheriff warning that any further offences, during that time, could lead to a custodial sentence.

On 12 September, Doonin Plant Limited, along with director Gary Doonin, was found guilty of keeping hundreds of tonnes of controlled waste, at a site within the former Woodend Colliery, Armadale, in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment. Mr Doonin and his company were also found guilty of keeping controlled waste without the authority of a Waste Management Licence.

The conviction and sentencing follow a number of previous convictions of Doonin Plant Limited, in respect of environmental offences, which also resulted in penalties including a £90,000 fine in 2010 for waste offences.

Commenting on the sentencing, Ian Buchanan, Area Manager of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said:

"Today, justice has been done for Scotland's environment. The sentence delivered is a positive result for the public, who care about the environment, and legitimate waste operators who have been undermined by the actions of Mr Doonin and Doonin Plant Limited. By carrying out such activities, the company and its director demonstrated a complete lack of consideration for the environment and we hope the sentence acts as a deterrent to any operators considering breaking the law.

"SEPA has worked closely with our colleagues at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to see this complex case reach a positive conclusion and will continue to do so to bring those who commit environmental crimes to justice.

"The conviction of Mr Doonin himself should also act as a warning to company directors that SEPA will consider offences committed by individuals when investigating environmental crimes."

Craig Harris, Head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit said:

"Doonin Plant Ltd and Gary Doonin carried out activities with a total disregard for the environment - and not for the first time.

"The conviction was the result of a lengthy investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and prosecution by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.  The severity of the crimes against the environment was marked by this case being prosecuted before a jury and today's outcome.

"Today's judgment will send out a strong warning to any other unscrupulous businesses who conduct themselves in this illegal manner".

Ends

Notes to editors

The exact charges Gary Doonin was found guilty of were:

(006) On various occasions between 17 January 2010 and 11 February 2010, both dates inclusive, at the former Woodend Colliery, Mill Road, Armadale, West Lothian, you GARY DOONIN did keep controlled waste, namely a car tyre, cardboard, carpet, carpet underlay, chipboard, clothing, electrical wiring, electrical components, electrical circuit breakers, food packaging (plastic), insulation material, laminated paperwork, metal mechanism, metal wire, newspaper, plasterboard, plastic bottles, plastic buckets, plastic ducting, plastic hosing, plastic sheeting, plastic bags, plastic telephone handset, plastic video tape, postal mail, paperwork, scissors, sofa cushions and wooden planks with hinges in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health, namely that you did dispose of said wastes on land that was not lined with an impermeable liner or supplied with an appropriate leachate collection system or landfill gas extraction system, resulting in the likelihood of leachate high in levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand and dissolved metals making its way to groundwater and/or to local watercourses, and to the likelihood of landfill gas being produced and venting freely to air, causing offensive odour and resulting in the release to atmosphere of methane and carbon dioxide, thereby impacting on local and global air quality;

CONTRARY to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1c)(c);

(008) On various occasions between 17 January 2010 and 11 February 2010, both dates inclusive, at the former Woodend Colliery, Mill Road, Armadale, West Lothian, you GARY DOONIN did keep controlled waste, namely a car tyre, cardboard, carpet, carpet underlay, chipboard, clothing, electrical wiring, electrical components, electrical circuit breakers, food packaging (plastic), insulation material, laminated paperwork, metal mechanism, metal wire, newspaper, plasterboard, plastic bottles, plastic buckets, plastic ducting, plastic hosing, plastic sheeting, plastic bags, plastic telephone handset, plastic video tape, postal mail, paperwork, scissors, sofa cushions and wooden planks with hinges on or in said land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence in that you did keep the aforesaid controlled waste on or in said land;

CONTRARY to Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1i);

The exact charges Doonin Plant Limited was found guilty of were:

(002) On various occasions between 17 January 2010 and 11 February 2010, both dates inclusive, at the former Woodend Colliery, Mill Road, Armadale, West Lothian, you DOONIN PLANT LIMITED did keep controlled waste, namely a car tyre, cardboard, carpet, carpet underlay, chipboard, clothing, electrical wiring, electrical components, electrical circuit breakers, food packaging (plastic), insulation material, laminated paperwork, metal mechanism, metal wire, newspaper, plasterboard, plastic bottles, plastic buckets, plastic ducting, plastic hosing, plastic sheeting, plastic bags, plastic telephone handset, plastic video tape, postal mail, paperwork, scissors, sofa cushions and wooden planks with hinges in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health, namely that you did dispose of said wastes on land that was not lined with an impermeable liner or supplied with an appropriate leachate collection system or landfill gas extraction system, resulting in the likelihood of leachate high in levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand and dissolved metals making its way to groundwater and/or to local watercourses, and to the likelihood of landfill gas being produced and venting freely to air, causing offensive odour and resulting in the release to atmosphere of methane and carbon dioxide, thereby impacting on local and global air quality;

CONTRARY to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1c)(c);

(004) On various occasions between 17 January 2010 and 11 February 2010, both dates inclusive, at the former Woodend Colliery, Mill Road, Armadale, West Lothian, you DOONIN PLANT LIMITED did keep controlled waste, namely a car tyre, cardboard, carpet, carpet underlay, chipboard, clothing, electrical wiring, electrical components, electrical circuit breakers, food packaging (plastic), insulation material, laminated paperwork, metal mechanism, metal wire, newspaper, plasterboard, plastic bottles, plastic buckets, plastic ducting, plastic hosing, plastic sheeting, plastic bags, plastic telephone handset, plastic video tape, postal mail, paperwork, scissors, sofa cushions and wooden planks with hinges on or in said land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence in that you did keep the aforesaid controlled waste on or in said land;

CONTRARY to Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1i);